|March 2017; Sourcebooks Fire; 978-1492635826|
ebook & print (432 pages); YA fantasy
a free ARC was provided for this revew
The influences from Japanese and South Asian cultures is very clear in the book. The training the Asha go through is very much like that geisha had done in Japan, though there is just as much focus on defense and martial arts as there is on music, diplomacy and the arts. Much of the food descriptions and clothing descriptions lend themselves to various cultures in our world, but the blend is a seamless one as Chupeco build the world and the magic that the Asha are capable of wielding. The monsters in this world aren't just the creatures rampaging and killing, but the politicians, nobles, and jealous Asha in training. There's the sense of a tragedy in the making, especially with the tale-within-a-tale format that the book takes, and it heightens the tension in reading about Tea's training.
I had actually stared at my Kindle in shock at the end of the book and nearly howled at the unfairness of it all. Quickly finding Rin's website and Tumblr online, I saw that this is book one of a series. I immediately breathed a sigh of relief. I can't wait to see what else is in store for Tea, the nameless Bard she is telling her story to, and the rest of the eight kingdoms.
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Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and golden retriever.
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